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Gene targeting technique extended to stem cells

The technique that helped revolutionize modern biology by making the mouse a crucible of genetic manipulation and a window to human disease has been extended to human embryonic stem (ES) cells. In a study published today (Feb. 10) in the online editions of the journal Nature Biotechnology, a team of scientists from UW-Madison reports that it has developed methods for recombining segments of DNA within stem cells.

New technique cuts risks of gene therapy

Stanford researchers have developed a technique that could cut the risks associated with gene therapy. Traditionally, gene therapy involves sneaking a snippet of genes into a person’s DNA via a virus messenger. But the result is the new sequence gets randomly placed within the patient’s existing genes, sometimes triggering other illnesses, such as leukemia. The new technique eliminates the need for a virus delivery system and places the genes in precise locations.